Posts Tagged ‘rainbow trout’

Fly Fishing Troublesome Creek, Colorado

February 29, 2012

Troublesome Creek, Colorado

I have hit a snag, trying to find time from my school schedule to resume my Ridglea Theater watercolor.  Meanwhile, I’m posting my first fly fishing watercolor, created about five years ago.  The setting is Troublesome Creek, northwest of Denver, between the towns of Parshall and Kremmling.  I was guided by Bull Basin Outfitters, and thanks to my guide Bob House, had a fantastic day.  This was taken from a photo of my landing a 24-inch Cutthroat.  I did not even know my guide took the picture, using my camera, until two weeks later when I got home and began uploading photos from my digital.  I loved the composition, so I chose to render it in watercolor.  My favorite part of the painting is the stand of trees on the left border. I was working hard on the drybrush, trying to replicate an Andrew Wyeth effect.


A River Runs Through It

February 28, 2012

Finding the Seam

I have been hindered from working further on the Ridglea Theater watercolor, and did not want my blog to languish for more than a couple of days, so I am re-posting this watercolor of me fly fishing the South Fork of the Rio Grande in southwestern Colorado.  This is my second “poured” watercolor, and I still take delight in looking at it.  The original painting is still for sale at the Weiler House Fine Art Gallery (, and I still drop by occasionally to study it.  The background trees and water patterns were mostly poured, with a little brush and pencil work and salt added after the colors were set.

Last night, I had a delightful phone conversation with a dear friend and former student currently residing in Colorado.  After I hung up, I realized that it has been over two years since I visited that lovely state and entered one of those mountain streams.  As a matter of fact, I haven’t taken out my fly rod in several months, and I’m really getting the itch again.

When Norman Maclean’s novella A River Runs Through It was released as a motion picture in 1992, I was just finishing a Summer Seminar at Oregon State University, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities.  I knew then that fly fishing was something I had to take up, and though it took about another eight years for me to get into it, I have not been able to lay it down.

I cannot describe how my breathing changes when I step into a crystal clear Colorado stream, and peer into those pools, scanning for rainbows and browns.  I take such exquisite delight in watching the seams dividing slow current from fast, and current from pool, and watching the trout line up outside the fast water to watch insects drift by.  My heart jumps into my throat, every time I see the flash of a trout rising to take my fly as it bobs and flows past in the current.  I miss Colorado desperately, right now.

I close with my favorite line from the late Professor Maclean:

Eventually all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.  The river was cut by the world’s gerat flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time.  On some of those rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

Thanks for reading.

Exploring Edward Hopper with Victorian Architecture

March 15, 2011

Victorian cropped

Revisiting Edward Hopper and Victorian Architecture

Spring Break has afforded quality watercolor time, and it is only Tuesday evening.  Daylight Saving Time has given me more quality outdoor light in the afternoon/evening as well.  The garage studio environment has been sublime for painting, reading, journaling and blogging.  I moved my antiquated stereo into the garage and am now enjoying a turntable that I haven’t played in a couple of years. Currently, I’m enjoying a pirated double-LP recording of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Live at the Los Angeles Forum 6-26-1970.  Standing in waiting is a large stack of blues LPs–Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Lonnie Johnson, Brownie McGhee, B. B. King, Son House, John Lee Hooker and Robert Johnson.

The pictures posted above are my attempt to paint a Victorian mansion I have admired for years, situated high atop a hill in Weatherford, Texas, along Highway 180.  A couple of weeks ago, on a Saturday, I was en route to the Brazos River near Possum Kingdom to do some fly fishing for recently-stocked rainbow trout.  The sun was strong that morning, and as I drove past this mansion, I had to pull over, turn around, return, get out and shoot some photos of it.  Finally I’m getting around to attempting my first watercolor on full-size paper (about 30 x 22″) with nearly 2/3 of the composition being hillside.  I’m flying blind here–don’t have any idea what I’m going to do with all this grass!  However, the mansion is coming along satisfactorily, and if I decide the grass isn’t working out, I can always take this to the paper cutter!  That should relieve some of the pressure I feel.

T. S. Eliot has been my companion for the day.  I’ve been spending plenty of time in “The Waste Land,” and am now reading the Eliot chapter in Howard Gardner’s Creating Minds. I’m fascinated with this poet, and am pleased that I can learn from his creative endeavor, even if he struggled over language the way I do over drawing.  I just finished reading a letter he wrote to his brother, explaining that he chose to write fewer pieces, concentrating on perfection and making each completed piece an “event” rather than being merely “prolific” and publishing pieces everywhere.  My goal in 2010 was to be prolific, as I have averaged less than twenty watercolors per year.  I completed nearly one hundred in 2010.  This year however, with my first ever one-man-show scheduled for September, I am concentrating on fewer and larger compositions, attempting to make every complete painting worthy of framing.  I know that is plenty to expect, but nevertheless, I am trying for quality over productivity this year.

And I’m certainly pushing some boundaries.  One of Edward Hopper’s neighboring artists commented that Hopper planned out each of his oils completely before he even started the composition.  The neighbor thought that was “a terrible way to paint, because you aren’t discovering anything.”  The critic went on to express admiration for Hopper’s watercolors “because in them you seem him experimenting all the time.”  I’m trying to keep this thought before me, and push each new piece I begin in a direction not familiar to me.  I don’t want to settle into any kind of “hack work,” pushing out watercolors for the trade.  So .  . . with this Victorian set high atop a hill, I try to complete my first Victorian in entirety (all my previous works are only partial studies of Victorian buildings, never completed), and I also try to devote some attention to a large plot of cultivated property.  We’ll see how it goes . . .

Thanks for reading.

Fly Fishing on the Brazos Watercolor Sketch Finished

February 27, 2011

Fly Fishing the Brazos

I decided to add a diminutive fly fisherman working the currents in the lower left-hand corner of this sketch.  If I decide he doesn’t “work out,” then I’ll crop him out when I mat and frame the composition.  I’m glad to have another watercolor sketch “in the box,” and delighted that I had yesterday’s outing/odyssey.  But now I’d like to finish up that Eureka Springs BIG painting.  I’m getting kind of tired of looking at it and want to sign it off and drop it off.

Thanks for reading.